Lawyers Question SC Order on Removal of Mosque in Allahabad HC

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"The mosque is situated across the road outside the High Court, and it is wrong to say that it is situated on the premises of the High Court. This is the impression that media has created,” said Advocate MR Shamshad

Ghazala Ahmad | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court has upheld Allahabad High Court’s November 2017 order on removal of a mosque from the state court’s premises.

Pronouncing the judgement here on Monday, a two-judge bench of Justice MR Shah and CT Ravi Kumar asked the petitioner, Waqf Masjid High Court, to approach the state government for alternative land, within three months.

The Supreme Court’s order has come as a rude shock and disappointed several citizens, especially those who were used to offer prayers at the mosque in the precincts of the High Court.

Speaking to Clarion India, Advocate MR Shamshad, one of the petitioners, said, “Firstly, the mosque is situated across the road outside the High Court, and it is wrong to say that it is situated on the premises of the High Court. This is the impression that media has created”.

Secondly, he said, “the argument that the mosque is coming in the passage of the court is wrong. High Court has constructed a nine-story building although they were authorised to build only six stories. The mosque land is being taken only to fulfill the increased requirement for additional floors. This is the legal aspect of the case.”

He further said, “Now, if we see at it through the citizens’ angle, a lot of people including the lawyers have been offering prayers there and all this is happening on the premises where the constitutional rights of people should be celebrated and upheld. Targeting only one institution seems unjust.”

There are more other institutions, he said, which hamper the passage to the court, “but that is not our concern. Our concern is that India is a diverse country with multiple religions co-existing and each one of them should be treated equally”, he added.

He wondered when the time will come when all unauthorised buildings and constructions are removed from the surroundings of the High Court. “If the mosque is ruled as ‘unauthorised’ the same parameters will also be there for the other structures,” he said.

Nabila Jamil, another lawyer, also expressed concerns over the issues. She told Clarion India: “It was argued by Mr Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the mosque, that it was constructed way back in 1861. For decades, Muslim lawyers have offered prayers at this mosque. With this order of the Supreme Court, three months have been given for the mosque to be removed from its place or else it’ll be demolished by the authorities”.

She said: “When other unauthorised structures near the High Court enjoy complete impunity, this order sets a precedent for only one community.”

The Supreme Court has ordered that if the construction is not removed within three months from the date of its order, it will be open for authorities including the High Court to demolish the structure.

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